MB v Secretary of State for the Home Department SN/47/2015 - 22 December 2015

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) handed down its open judgment in a challenge brought by MB, an Algerian national, against the refusal to grant him British citizenship. MB’s application was refused in 2010 on the basis that he did not meet the requirement for good character. No further reasons were provided on the basis it was not in the public reason to do so. He brought a claim for judicial review of the decision which was stayed behind AHK and others [2009] EWCA Civ 287. The Secretary of State subsequently certified the decision refusing naturalisation. MB then applied to review that decision before SIAC.

His grounds of challenge included that the SSHD’s procedure lacked legal certainty, that procedural fairness required the SSHD to identify her areas of concern before making her decision, inadequacy of reasons, failure to account for MB’s own explanation and breach of Article 8.

SIAC (Mitting J presiding) dismissed all grounds. The fact that the SSHD had made two disclosures during the course of the instant litigation, namely that MB was considered to be a member of the GIA (a proscribed organisation under the Terrorism Act 2000) and that a certificate of allegiance had been found to this effect, did not render the fact this information had not been provided to him at the time of his application, unlawful. Full reasons were provided in the closed judgment.

Even had the Secretary of State been sighted as to MB’s denials of involvement with the GIA his legal challenge would still have been dismissed in accordance with section 31(2A) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 on the basis that the outcome of his application would not have been substantially different.

David Mitchell acted for the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

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